Any penalty from Google can extremely be detrimental to your official website. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell if your website has been penalized and even complicated to handle the penalty to make recovery. Today, in this post, we will tell you about the penalties hand out by Google and the ways to get back on the good side of Google again. So, let us get started!
What is the Google Penalty?
Google Penalty occur when your business website gets flagged by the manual review team or negatively affected by the algorithm update. These penalties result in dropping the search engine results rankings, less traffic, and/or completely de-indexed in worse cases. It is no secret that they are quite bad for businesses particularly for those who depend on their official website for revenue generation.
Types of Penalties
Well! There are typically two types of penalties – Manual and Algorithmic. Each category has its reasons for penalties. So, we will delve into the same below.
Also called manual action, it occurs when the spam team of Google flags your website for breaching Webmaster Guidelines. To see whether your website has been penalized or not, simply log into your Google Search Console and look for the new messages. If you do not have any messages or warnings, it is unlikely that there is a manual action or penalty on your website. These penalties are always (mostly) due to the backlink profile. And there are the following types of manual penalties:
- Unnatural links to your website – impact links: Google detects the links where it does not look like you had any role in creating those links. These links are useless but to deal with negative SEO, you will need to recover from this penalty.
- Unnatural links to your website: This one is just like the previous one but you are blamed for creating these links. This manual action can affect your entire website or just a few pages, depending on the scope of the links. This penalty occurs as a result of link swapping, backlinks, reciprocal links, etc.
- Unnatural links from your website: This one is just the opposite of the first two penalties. If Google thinks you are creating links too often, linking to the same website with the same anchor text again and again, or doing other manipulative activities for linking, your website will get hit with this manual penalty. This penalty can have an impact on just a few selected pages or the whole website.
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How to Recover from a Manual Penalty?
Fortunately, some recourse is there to deal with these manual penalties efficiently and quickly. Since these penalties are link-based most of the time, you can have more control over them. For instance, you can check for the spammy links pointing to the website. Just remove them to handle this penalty. Sometimes, it becomes quite hard to know which links on your website are getting penalized for! If you have engaged in link trading, link buying, etc., then those are probably the links Google is talking about. You can also utilize the tools like SEMrush and AHREFS to find the anchor text or such penalized links. As per Google’s Matt Cutts, ‘more than 400,000 manual penalties are initiated every month. Of those properties, only 5% submit reconsideration requests. Make sure you’re in that 5%!’ So take professional help in case you are clueless about it or need immediate solutions.
These penalties take place automatically when the algorithms of Google flags your site. This can also happen as a result of the update in the previous algorithm or launch of a brand new algorithm. These penalties are considered harder to detect as you do not get any sort of messages or warnings on your Search Engine Console that your website is penalized. Rather, your website will experience a sudden yet massive drop in the traffic with no explanation. So, it is good to keep a track of these penalties to remain in the loop. There can be several resources devoted to tracking, so you can make the most of them. Whenever you notice an abnormal and sudden dip in the traffic, you must check if there are any confirmed algorithm changes. Just look at the following for more information:
- Panda: This Google update is continuously liable for several low-quality sites getting acutely penalized. The only aim of this Google algorithm is to make sure high-quality content. If Google thinks that your site has thin content, is falsely authoritative, and does not add value, a data refresh in Panda will undoubtedly tank your rankings. It is dangerous because it is a site-wide penalty. It means your entire website, it is ranking, traffic, and everything will be affected.
- Penguin: It was yet another large algorithm update of Google that reshaped the SEO landscape. It is essentially an automatic detector of ‘bad links’. Penguin particularly looks for things such as overall quality of the links, how quickly a website obtains and retains links, diversity (do-follow, no-follow, low-quality, and high-quality), etc. If this update determines your backlink activities to be unnatural, then your site will get hit with this penalty. Unlike Panda, only specific pages will be affected by this penalty but you will end up losing a huge amount of traffic on your website.
- Mobile-Friendliness: To make websites mobile-ready and improve the rankings, Google has pushed a total of two mobile-friendliness-related algorithms. So, it is one of the easiest to detect among all to check the penalties occurred. Mobile-friendliness refers to countless things such as responsive design, page load speed, appropriately-sized UI elements, and more.
How to Recover from an Algorithmic Penalty?
While these Google Penalty may vary from one to another, there is only one single path to regaining your rankings – FIX THE PROBLEM!
Google runs data refreshes once every few months and your penalized website won’t recover until you do it or Google thinks that your website does not deserve any penalty. These penalties can be devastating for some websites but most of them can recover with strategic planning. No matter you are penalized under which algorithm update, do a complete website audit, and ensure all your data is relevant and up-to-sniff.
Whether you have bad links to your site or someone has tried negative SEO to put you down, getting rid of these Google Penalty is doable. Several websites have recovered from these penalties, so do not panic! Just read the Webmaster Guidelines of Google to understand the possible reasons for penalties.